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Report: Giving rose in state last year, but trailed nation

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Charitable giving rose strongly in Indiana and the nation last year, according to a new report, but the rate of growth is expected to slacken a bit in 2012, a new report says.

Hoosiers gave $6.4 billion last year, a bump of 6.4 percent from the previous year, according to Atlas of Giving LLC.

Nationwide, Americans gave $346 billion, an increase of 7.5 percent over 2010.

“Giving in 2011 far exceeded the expectations of everyone,” said Rob Mitchell, CEO of Dallas-based Atlas of Giving, which issues a monthly summary of charitable giving.

The growth kept coming even after corporations curtailed their gifts after the first half of the year—in the face of the summer threat of a double-dip recession.

“Corporate giving did not keep pace with overall giving in 2011. It had a strong first half of the year and then tapered off,” Mitchell said.

For the nation as a whole, Atlas of Giving expects charitable contributions to rise 3.9 percent in 2012. But Indiana could enjoy a bigger increase of 5.4 percent.

Atlas of Giving data are not based on any collection of actual contributions or on surveys. Instead, the company runs a variety of economic indicators—such as unemployment and stock market gains—through an algorithm to generate an estimate of what is likely to have occurred.

Mitchell said the algorithm has been tested against 42 years of historical giving data and shown to be 99.5-percent accurate.

Atlas of Giving’s method differs sharply from that used by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, which produces the annual Giving USA report, a standard benchmark in the not-for-profit sector.

The Center on Philanthropy will issue its annual report in June, relying on charitable contribution data aggregated from individual tax returns by the Internal Revenue Service, as well as fundraising information disclosed by charities on the Form 990s they file with the IRS.

 

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